Israeli remains on display at makeshift Hizbullah museum

September 05, 2006

* Nasrallah’s statement regretting war not widely covered by Western media
* In Lebanon, much disdain for Hizbullah
* BBC Arabic World Service: Hizbullah had built underground “cities”
* Frederick Forsyth on the question of “proportionality”



1. Hizbullah wants to swap soldiers for child killers
2. Israeli war trophies on display at makeshift Lebanon museum
3. El Al refused landing rights by five European countries
4. French poll: Shi’ites want Hizbullah armed, rest of Lebanese don’t
5. Egyptian weekly: Hizbullah preparing “child martyrs” to carry out suicide attacks
6. Hizbullah chief indicates regret for kidnappings
7. Lebanese show disdain for Hizbullah
8. 400,000 mines in southern Lebanon before fighting
9. Shin Bet chief: “Hizbullah is arming Gaza for a new war on Israel”
10. BBC Arabic World Service: Hizbullah had built underground “cities”
11. Syria, not just Iran, supplied missiles to Hizbullah
12. Donors pledge $940 million for Lebanon, none to Israel
13. Attempts to put conditions on U.S. aid to Lebanon
14. Aiding victims on both sides
15. Qatar to send 200-300 troops to Lebanon
16. Italian soldiers will be deployed in the midst of Hizbullah’s bunkers
17. The New York Times admits…
18. New York man charged with enabling Hizbullah
19. And meanwhile in Afghanistan
20. “Disproportionate?” (By Frederick Forsyth, Daily Express, Aug. 11, 2006)

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is the first part of a two-part dispatch today following up on the recent Hizbullah-Israel war.

(One of the reasons there have been less dispatches of late is that I have been giving interviews on TV and radio stations in various countries. Some have been posted by different websites. For those interested, here is a clip from Fox news.)

(Some Israelis on this list have also asked where they can read my recent articles in Hebrew. This is from Ma’ariv, Israel’s second highest circulation newspaper, complete with various pictures and readers’ comments.)


The (London) Sunday Times reports that one of the criminals (referred to benignly by the BBC and others as “Lebanese detainees held in Israeli jails”) that Hizbullah is demanding Israel swaps for its kidnapped soldiers is Samir Qantar.

Qantar, 44, was convicted of multiple murder after he led an attack on the Israeli coastal town of Nahariya 27 years ago. He shot Israeli Danny Haran, 28, at close range in front of his terrified four-year-old daughter Einat. He then repeatedly smashed Einat’s head with a rifle butt until she was dead. Haran’s wife Smadar hid in a loft with their two-year-old daughter Yael, desperately keeping a hand over her mouth to stop her crying out, and accidentally suffocated her child to death as she did so.

Smadar told journalists after the attack: “I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. ‘This is just like what happened to my mother,’ I thought.”

Qantar was convicted in a court of law for the murders of Danny and Einat Haran, but this is never mentioned by most western journalists when they talk of “prisoner exchanges.”

Qantar has become a hero among Arab terrorists, and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has announced that Qantar’s wife will be a prime speaker at next year’s “memorial day for Lebanese prisoners.”

By an extraordinary twist of fate, Ehud Goldwasser, one of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, heard Qantar’s attack when, as a four-year-old boy, he was woken up by gunfire and grenades next door to his family home in Nahariya. The next morning his parents told him that a girl his age had been murdered by an Arab terrorist who had come from Lebanon.


Strawberry jam, bullets and a lock of human hair are among the mundane and macabre war trophies displayed at a makeshift roadside museum next to a mosque opened last weekend in southern Lebanon.

A yellow Hizbullah flag flies over one corner of the display, reports Agence France Presse, and Hizbullah posters are stuck to a wall above a collection of other seized Israeli items. Parts of the exhibit are ridiculous: cans of tuna and corn stacked with small packets of strawberry jam resting on top.

But other items are grotesque: A burned Israeli helmet contains a lock of a dead Israeli’s hair. Human ashes of dead Israeli soldiers are displayed in a second IDF helmet.

Much of the display consists of burned pieces of clothing with writing in Hebrew. Three pairs of boots are still intact. “Look at this,” a young man from the nearby mosque told AFP. He holds up a pair of uniform trousers. One leg has been severed, reports the French news agency.

At least 119 Israeli soldiers died in the 34-day war with Hizbullah, as well as dozens of Israeli civilians.


Five European countries are refusing landing rights to aircraft from the Israeli national carrier El Al that are transporting military equipment to the Jewish state, Israel Radio reported this afternoon.

It quoted an airline official as saying the new restrictions imposed by Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal meant some incoming El Al flights would not be able to refuel enroute, and would have to reduce their cargo load.

Some El Al planes and pilots were mobilized by the air force during the war to fly in military supplies.

Meanwhile, those same Western nations continue to allow arms and money to find their way into the hands of various Arab terror groups.


A new French poll shows that opinion among the Lebanese on whether Hizbullah should disarm falls along religious lines. Overall, opinion is 51%-49%, with the edge going to those who want Hizbullah to lay down its weapons. But the polling showed 84% of Shi’ites want the terrorist group to keep its weapons, while 79% of the Druze community, 77% of the Christian community and 54% of the Sunni Muslims favor disarming Hizbullah. (It should be noted that this poll was taken and published by France, and other non-French sources indicate a much lower level of support among Lebanese Shia for Hizbullah. France is leading the new UN force that is supposed to disarm Hizbullah.)


The Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yusuf (edition dated August 18, 2006) carries an investigative article by Mirfat Al-Hakim titled “Hizbullah’s Children’s Militias.”

Al-Hakim writes: “Hizbullah has recruited over 2,000 innocent children aged 10-15 to form armed militias. Before the recent war with Israel, these children appeared only in the annual Jerusalem Day celebrations, and were referred to as the ‘December 14 Units,’ but today they are called ‘martyrs’ [and are being trained for this purpose]. These are children barely ten years old, who wear camouflage uniforms, cover their faces with black camouflage paint, and swear to wage jihad.

“The children are selected by Hizbullah recruitment officers based on one criterion: They must be willing to become martyrs. The first lesson that the children are taught by Hizbullah is ‘The Disappearance of Israel,’ and it is always an important part of the training program.” (Above translation, courtesy of MEMRI, the senior staff of which are subscribers to this email list.)

Na’im Qasim, deputy to Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, told Radio Canada: “A nation with child-martyrs will be victorious.”


Hizbullah leader Nasrallah said last week that he would not have ordered the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers (and the killing of eight others) that led Israel to declare war had he known the consequences for Lebanon.

“If I knew the process of capturing [these soldiers], even with a 1% probability, would lead to a war like this, and then if you asked me would you go and capture them, my answer would be, of course, no – for humanitarian, moral, social and security reasons,” Nasrallah said.

His comments were aired nationwide in Lebanon and rebroadcast throughout the Arab world. However, they were largely ignored by many western newspapers, which are still suggesting Hizbullah was victorious.

Nasrallah acknowledged in the interview on the secular New TV network in Beirut that the war had cost the lives of more than 800 of its people, many of them civilians. (This figure is considerably lower than the vastly inflated figures of Lebanese war dead put out by western news organizations, particularly by the BBC and Reuters, which are trying to further their anti-Israeli agenda. The Associated Press is running a more accurate figure of 800 dead, a mix of Hizbullah fighters and civilians caught up in the fighting.)

Nasrallah claimed all of his commanders remained unharmed and that Hizbullah had more than 12,000 rockets left, about half of what it had before the war.

Hizbullah has said that it would exercise self-restraint in the face of what it regards as Israeli breaches of a UN Security Council resolution which ended the war with Israel. In fact it is likely urging restraint because it lost and the Lebanese public has turned against them. (See the articles included in the second dispatch today, titled “The Arabs have become wise enough to know TV victory from real victory.”)


The Associated Press (which while hardly pro-Israeli is less hostile than Reuters) reports that Lebanese Shia are turning against Hizbullah. An AP article last week states: “They pushed, shoved, shouted and cursed one another. In the end, Hizbullah supporters were turned back from an attempt to plaster posters of their leader around Marwaheen, a Sunni Muslim village in southern Lebanon that is mourning the loss of 23 residents from an Israeli air attack during the war. ‘Why do you want to put up an image of someone who is killing us?’ a man screamed as dozens of villagers brandished fists and thrust open palms at Hizbullah loyalists clutching posters of Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s bearded and bespectacled chief. ‘We don’t want to see it!’”

Sunni Muslims and Christians have long shown their anger towards Hizbullah, but now some Shia are also openly voicing criticism. Meanwhile Hizbullah remains popular among some students and professors on university campuses in Britain, France and the United States, as well as among some western journalists.


The United Nations has been quick to accuse the government of Ehud Olmert of responsibility for unexploded cluster bomb shells they say Israel dropped on southern Lebanon in the last 72 hours of the fighting between Israeli forces and Hizbullah last month. These UN accusations were reported as the main headline stories by news outlets such as The New York Times, BBC and the International Herald Tribune.

But The Media Line news service has learned that UN officials in fact believe that as many as 400,000 land mines in southern Lebanon were laid prior to the last month of fighting. It is unclear when all of the mines were laid and by whom.


Yuval Diskin, the director of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, has warned that Palestinian terrorists in Gaza are assembling increasing numbers of weapons and tactical expertise from Hizbullah. Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has become a haven for arms smugglers into the Gaza Strip, he said. He added that within Gaza terrorists were building rocket hideouts, a Hizbullah-style bunker network and an anti-tank missile arsenal as they prepared for an escalated confrontation with Israel.

Since Israel withdrew from Gaza last year, the Gaza border is now controlled by the Palestinians and Egypt, with the help of European monitors. The Egyptians and Europeans appear to be turning a blind eye as Hamas and other Palestinian groups smuggle in vast quantities of weaponry. At the same time, large parts of the western media – completely taken in by Palestinian propaganda – continue to report that the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority has no money.

According to Diskin, with Hizbullah’s help, in recent months Hamas has brought in Katyusha rockets with a 10-mile range, dozens of anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, 15 tons of explosives, 15,000 guns and four million rounds of ammunition. They have been smuggled across the Egyptian border through a network of around 20 tunnels, for use against Israel. Last week, Israeli forces uncovered one such tunnel with a shaft 13 meters deep, and main infrastructure 150 meters long. The tunnel entrance was found inside a house in the residential area of Sajaiya.

The connection between the two terror organizations has been strong since 1992, when 400 Hamas members were exiled from Israel to Lebanon where they were significantly influenced, both politically and militarily, by Hizbullah. A number of those Hamas leaders are still based in Lebanon. Israeli military analysts believe that the quantity of weapons being delivered to the Gaza Strip has doubled since the recent Hizbullah-Israel war ended.

Israeli military sources remain convinced that the Palestinian threat to Israel is as great as Hizbullah, and is fast becoming more acute. They suspect Hizbullah has taken a tactical decision to scale down its operations in southern Lebanon, focusing instead on new anti-Israel fronts in the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank.


On August 1, retired Egyptian Major General Hussam Suwailem, the main studio guest for the daily “Hadith al-Saa” program on the BBC Arabic World Service (the equivalent of the “Newshour” program on the English-language BBC World Service) said Israel’s airstrikes were failing because Hizbullah was “invisible”. Hizbullah’s underground network where they were hiding, he said, was so extensive that it amounted to an underground city.

He said the network had been built by North Korean companies in the six years since Israel left Lebanon. The tunnels, he added, were dug deeper than the penetration ability of the GBU-28 bomb used by Israel; they each linked to three small military cities, and in some places the network goes as far as to reach inside Syria. Inside this network, he continued, communications structures were built with the co-operation of German companies. Suwailem further stated that the central command center of Hizbullah is in the Harmal area (in the Northern Beka valley), in which the al-Manar TV transmitters were also placed.

(The above commentary from BBC Arabic World Service has been specially monitored and translated for this email list/website.)


Major newspapers have begun to report what this email list/website reported some weeks ago: that Syria, not just Iran, supplied missiles to Hizbullah.

For example, on August 31, 2006, The Los Angeles Times reported: “New postwar intelligence indicates that the militant group Hizbullah had broader access to sophisticated weaponry than was publicly known – including large numbers of medium-range rockets made in Syria… The size of the Hizbullah arsenal and the direct role of Syria in supplying it will complicate the daunting task of keeping Hizbullah from rearming.

“… The new weapons data indicating a broader Syrian role were gathered by Israel largely by examining debris left by shells that hit the country during the conflict. The examination uncovered the serial numbers and other defining characteristics of the weapons. Israel’s postwar forensics have shown some of the rockets were manufactured by the Syrian munitions industry... The disclosures about Syria’s role in supplying Hizbullah dovetail with postwar diplomatic strategies. Syrian officials would not confirm or deny the reports.

“… Israel asserts that in the weeks since the cease-fire, Iran and Syria have tried to resupply Hizbullah, primarily via Syria’s long border with Lebanon. Iran is seeking to send in long-range rockets but has been hampered by Israel’s sea and air embargo, Israeli officials said. Syria’s attempts to send in shorter-range rockets via land routes may prove more successful because of the porousness of the frontier.”

Hizbullah fired 4,228 rockets at Israel during the 34 days of fighting, leading to 53 fatalities, 250 severely wounded, and over 2,000 less seriously wounded. There was extensive damage to hundreds of dwellings, several public utilities, and dozens of industrial plants. One million Israelis lived near or in shelters or security rooms, with over 250,000 civilians evacuating the north and relocating to other areas of the country.


Last Thursday, international donors representing more than 60 governments, meeting under the Swedish government’s leadership in Stockholm, pledged more than $940 million for immediate relief efforts for Lebanon, nearly double what Lebanon has asked for.

The biggest single donation, of $230 million, was pledged by the U.S. government. Sizeable donations also came from the European Commission, France, Italy and Sweden.

“This amount is in addition to previous pledges, making a total of over $1.2 billion available for recovery and reconstruction,” a Swedish spokesperson said. The European Union had already pledged 42 million euros ($54 million). Separately, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have both pledged $500 million and $300 million respectively.

Lebanon says it will make immediate grants of $40,000 available to individual families.

(On Friday, at a follow-up meeting in Stockholm, the international community pledged $500 million for the Palestinian territories. Now Hamas will be able to purchase even more arms.)

Israel, which suffered severe damage as a result of Hizbullah attacks, has received no international governmental help, but has received private donations from Jewish and Christian groups.

Meanwhile, the Beirut Daily Star reports that Hizbullah workers have been distributing between $10,000 and $12,000 in cash to each family that had its home damaged in fighting with Israel.

The Daily Star writes: “Another interesting aspect, bankers noted, is that Hizbullah had large sums of dollar bank notes at a time when the country was suffering from an acute shortage of dollar bills.”


A key U.S. legislator, Tom Lantos, has said he would block aid President George W. Bush promised Lebanon and free the funds only when Beirut agreed to the deployment of international troops on the border with Syria.

As the top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee, Lantos has the power to hold up legislation. “My purpose is not to withhold aid from Lebanon, my purpose... is to persuade the government of Lebanon that the closing of the Lebanon-Syria border to arms smuggling from Iran and Syria is in the prime national interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese people,” he said.


While the international community gives, and continues to give, only to Lebanese victims of the recent conflict, some American-born Israeli Jews are holding fundraising concerts in Jerusalem for displaced residents from both sides of the border. Various left-wing Israeli groups have aided them in their fundraising drive for Lebanese affected by the fighting. We want “to show Muslims that there are Jews in Israel who regret their suffering,” they said in a press statement.


The Gulf state of Qatar said yesterday that it would send some 200-300 troops to join the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, the Doha-based Al Jazeera television reported. If confirmed, Qatar would be the first Arab country to participate in the expanded UN force set up to keep the peace between Israel and Hizbullah in south Lebanon. Qatar maintains low-level ties with Israel. It is also a key U.S. ally and hosts a major U.S. military base. “Qatar has relations with Israel and as a result Israel has no objection to its participation in the force,” Israeli foreign ministry officials said.


900 Italian soldiers have already arrived in Lebanon to lead the expanded UNIFIL mission, following the UN Resolution 1701. (Italy plans to send 3000 troops, and will take over control of the force from France next February.)

Italy’s most read newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera, reported on September 2 in an article titled “Italian soldiers will be deployed in the midst of Hizbullah’s bunkers” by Lorenzo Cremonesi, that the Italian soldiers will face great challenges in Lebanon. Captain Nortey, an officer from Ghana’s UNIFIL force in Lebanon since 1996, told Il Corriere della Sera of the difficulties and threats his men faced when dealing with Hizbullah fighters. According to Nortey, Hizbullah built their bunkers all around the UNIFIL base and used the buildings in the surrounding villages as missile deposits, using civilians and his own base as a human shield against Israeli attacks.

Nortey told the Italian paper that he was personally threatened by Hizbullah for trying to stop them from launching Katyushas from the areas around his base, and hopes that the new UNIFIL mission will be able to bring a change on the ground by having better and clearer rules of engagement that would allow them to search and destroy the Hizbullah’s bunkers and disarm them. Otherwise, he said, nothing will change.

(For more, in Italian, see here.)

Separately, the Italian foreign minister has said that if they succeed in this mission, “they will be able to take part in other international forces – in Gaza, for example.”


Finally, The New York Times, which has so often misled its readers, having been taken in by Hamas, Hizbullah, and especially by Yasser Arafat, on Sunday acknowledged that Hizbullah manipulate the media.

In his piece in The New York Times magazine (“Besieged,” September 3, 2006) Scott Anderson writes: “In their ‘all front’ war with Israel, Hizbullah had meticulously planned for the psychological dimension, and it appeared that a crucial component in this was to minimize the reporting of their battlefield casualties. On this front, they were able to rely on the support – or acquiescence – of the local medical establishment. While journalists were routinely allowed access to those hospital wards containing wounded women and children, other wards – presumably those housing adult males – were off-limits, blocked by orderlies or the requisite bearded young men. The same pattern extended to the dead: occasionally ghoulish public displays of the torn bodies of obvious civilians and a curious absence of those of fighting-age men.”


Javed Iqbal, who operates a small company from a Brooklyn storefront that provides satellite programming for households, was last week charged with inciting terrorism by providing satellite broadcasts of Hizbullah’s Al-Manar television to New York-area customers.

Iqbal, originally from Pakistan, was arrested on terror conspiracy charges, and arraigned in Federal District Court in Manhattan, and ordered held in $250,000 bail.

In addition to inciting terrorism, Al-Manar’s broadcasts are frequently racist and anti-Semitic, glorify suicide bombings and children’s programming encourages youngsters to “join the jihad and give their lives for the cause.” A 28-part series that was broadcast over Ramadan and based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion included a dramatization that depicted an Orthodox Jew slitting the throat of a Christian child and draining the child’s blood to make food for Passover.

For more on Al-Manar, see France to ban “revolting” anti-Semitic TV broadcasts; and other reports (Feb. 2, 2004).

In their reporting on the arrest, The New York Times – not surprisingly – managed to mention that “Mr. Iqbal” is a “budding entrepreneur,” and The Times quoted others as saying that Iqbal is “very generous in the community,” and is “a fun-loving guy.”


The NATO-led force in Afghanistan says it killed more than 200 Afghans over the weekend. Four Canadian troops and one British soldier were also killed in the fighting. NATO contends that all the dead were Taliban fighters, whereas Afghan sources say most were civilians. There is a remarkable absence of discussion about “proportionality” among western politicians and media, who are so obsessed with the issue when Israel defends itself. Of course, unlike in Britain and Canada, Israel’s international border was violated and dozens of Israeli civilians killed when Israel hit back trying to stop the source of missile fire.

Below I attach a piece on this question by the British novelist Frederick Forsyth, best-known for writing The Day of the Jackal, a novel which became an international bestseller, and was later made into a blockbuster movie of the same name.

-- Tom Gross



By Frederick Forsyth
(London) Daily Express
August 11, 2006

It must surely be true that the level of lies and hypocrisy that a society can tolerate is in direct proportion to the degeneration of that culture.

Personally I am not particularly pro or anti Israel, pro or anti Arab or pro or anti Islam. But I do have a dislike of myth, hypocrisy and lies as opposed to reality, fairness and truth.

Watching the bombing of Lebanon it is impossible not to feel horror and pity for the innocent civilians killed, wounded or rendered homeless. But certain of our politicians, seeking easy populism and the cheapest round of applause in modern history, have called the Israeli response “disproportionate”. Among these politicos are Jack Straw and that master of EU negotiations William Hague.

That accusation can only mean: “disproportionate to the aggression levelled against them”. Really? Why did the accusers not mention Serbia? What has Serbia got to do with it? Let’s refresh our memories.

In 1999 five Nato air forces – US, British, French, Italian and German – began to plaster Yugoslavia, effectively the tiny and defenceless province of Serbia. We were not at war with the Serbs, we had no reason to hate them, they had not attacked us and no Serbian rockets were falling on us.

But we practically bombed them back to the Stone Age. We took out every bridge we could see. We trashed their TV station, army barracks, airfields and motorways.

We were not fighting for our lives and no terrorists were skulking among the civilian population but we hit apartment blocks and factories anyway. There were civilian casualties. We did not do it for 25 days but for 73. We bombed this little country economically back 30 years by converting its infrastructure into rubble. Why?

We were trying to persuade one dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, to pull his troops out of Kosovo, which happened to be (and still is) a Yugoslav province. The dictator finally cracked; shortly afterwards he was toppled but it was his fellow Serbs who did that, no Nato.

Before the destruction of Serbia, Kosovo was a nightmare of ethnic hatred. It still is. If we wanted to liberate the Kosovans why did we not just invade? Why blow Serbian civilians to bits?

Here is my point. In all those 73 days of bombing Serbia I never heard one British moralist use the word “disproportionate”.

The entire point of Hizbullah is not to resolve some border dispute with Israel; its aim is to wipe Israel off the map, as expressed by Hizbullah’s master, the crazed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. That aim includes the eradication of every Israeli Jew; i.e. genocide.

Serbia never once threatened to wipe the UK off the map or slaughter our citizens, yet Straw, in office in 1999, and Hague, leading the Conservative Party, never objected to Serbia being bombed.

As an ex-RAF officer I am persuaded the Israelis fighter pilots are hitting civilian-free targets with 95% of their strikes. These are the hits no TV network bothers to cover. It is the 5% that causes the coverage and the horror: wrong target, unseen civilians in the cellar, misfire, unavoidable collateral casualties. Unavoidable?

Israel has said I effect, “If you seek to wipe us out we will defend ourselves to the death. You offer us no quarter, so we will offer none to you. But if you choose intentionally, inadvertently, or through the stupidity of your government to protect and shelter the killers among yourselves then with deepest regret, we cannot guarantee your exemption.”

Yesterday we Brits learned that certain elements in our society had tried to organise a mass slaughter of citizens flying out of our airports. We will have to take draconian measures against these enemies in our midst. Will Messrs Hague and Straw complain our methods are disproportionate? Not a chance. Now that, dear readers, is blatant hypocrisy.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.